Mia Birk’s ‘joyride’ as a leader in the bicycle planning field is taking a major turn. Alta Planning + Design, the firm Birk joined in 1999 after a stint as the City of Portland’s bicycle coordinator, announced today that she is leaving at the end of this year.
“It’s time,” Birk shared with me in a conference at the firm’s Portland headquarters on Southeast Grand this morning. “It’s just a gut feeling.”
Since the mid 1990s Birk has played a major role in the renaissance of cycling in America. As the bicycle coordinator for the City of Portland between 1993 and 1999 her persistence and unwavering belief in bike lanes literally laid the groundwork for Portland’s reputation as our country’s best city for cycling.
When she joined Alta in 1999 the firm had just one office and two employees. As president and most recently CEO, Birk’s career at Alta has seen the company boom to nearly 200 employees and 30 offices throughout North America.
As Alta grew so did the field of bicycle planning itself.